Super papacito, actor, writer and activist Kendrick Sampson talked to us about so many things and answered so many questions we had about race, politics, and how to touch on and teach those subjects to our children. But one of the biggest takeaway was these 5 things we can all to do raise more empathetic, politically engaged children.
1. Teach them to see color
“number one thing we shouldn’t do is to teach children to “not see color.” - Kendrick S.
Our differences make us who we are, our skin color informs the way we exist in the world and that should not be erased. Teaching children that differences are not valuable teaches them intolerance. Similarly teaching children that “being of color” is bad reinforces the idea that people of color are bad. Which is made that much more detrimental if you’re raising children of color.
2. Making it normal to talk about uncomfortable topics
“we’re taught not to talk about the most important things that show you what people’s values are. Sex, race, religion, politics, we’re taught not to talk about deep things.” - Kendrick S.
We no longer live in a time where we can shield our children from what is happening in this country and in the world. Don’t be afraid to answer their questions with real information. Because think about it, If you are not teaching your children to talk about or express the questions they have on the tough issues what kind of adults will they become? And what kind of information will they ingest trying to find answers on their own? We need to raise children that feel comfortable standing up for what is right.
3. Be proud of who you are
For Latinos it can feel easier and safer to shrink or change who we are in order to avoid being aligned with all the negative images being circulated about us. But this is not the time for that. Realistically the only thing you can do to fight those stereotypes is to be a loud positive representation of your people in your community and to your family. What lesson are you teaching your children by denying your culture and heritage?
4. Celebrate the ethnic identities of others
Too often we get swept up in believing our culture is the best or that our people are the best, when in reality that is subjective. It’s also paving the road for xenophobia and racism. We can be proud without demeaning others, we should teach our children to explore and appreciate what they do not understand instead of rejecting, hating or being fearful of it. This means taking the time to thoughtfully understand and celebrate the way people different from us live. It also means finding what unites us.
5. Ask questions
“be interested in other people, ask them questions and make mistakes, and when you make those mistakes you apologize and teach your friends not to make those same mistakes.” - Kendrick S.
We can’t be expected to know everything about everything but as adults it IS our responsibility to educate ourselves. That doesn’t mean burdening other people with educating us, but we can definitely: ask for resources, do our own research, follow people in social justice on social media, and read as much as we can about the topics we want to teach our kids.
What are some of the ways you’re raising more politically conscious kids? Let us know in the comments! And for our full conversation with Kendrick check out episode 152: 4th of july special with actor & activist, kendrick sampson.